Film on greatest religious icon

DSC_0655‘Migettuwatte Gunananda Himi’ is the lyrical title given to the first film ever to be based on the life story of a Buddhist monk of recent times. Director and co-producer Sisil Gunesekera who is best known as a playwright, explained that he chose this particular prelate, the leader of the Buddhist revival of the 19th century, as protagonist for his film because “I feel (this story) will enlighten the present generation.”

He called the Ven. Gunananda “the boldest, the most brilliant and most powerful champion of Sinhala Buddhism.” His intention however, he reiterated, is not to hurt “the sentiments of any religious group.” Indeed Gunesekera, who is now domiciled in Australia, is filling a void with this film not only because the Ven. Gunananda was the hero of the Panadura debate, which sparked interest for Buddhism in the West, and was known for academic brilliance apart from exceptional oratorical skills but also because Buddhist biographical films are such a rarity.

The character of the religious and national icon will be played by Roger Seneviratne. The rest of the cast comprises Suranga Ranawaka, Priyankara Rathnake, Lucky Dias, Wimalindra Kumari, Vasanthi Chathurani and Budhdhadasa Vithanachchi. Kaplia Sugath handles the camera, Upatissa Akurambada the art direction, Harsha Manjula the makeup, Nilatha Sri Pathirana the music, Mahinda Bandara Dissanayake the costumes while sunil Edirisinghe and Uresha Ravihari will be contributing as playback singers.

Suranga Ranawaka is the line producer and Lasanka Madhushan is assistant director. The movie is co-produced by Kamal Karunanayake and Sisil Gunesekera.

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